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April 13, 2006

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sad

******Fitzgerald himself said that these charges were not his first choice, just the least problematic from a prosecution standpoint. Thus, any conviction would serve (capital J) justice even though Fitzgerald believes (in his innermost heart) that Libby's (currently unprovable) real crimes are more important*******

I think I understand Fitz a little better now Walter. You have explained the thought process of a man willing to use newspaper articles to send a man to prison for thirty years.

noah

Walter, have any idea what those unprovable charges might be? That question has troubled many here for a long time.

boris

--This case is a perjury case.

Not. This is "just" remedy because it's the only way to punish somebody for "retribution" on a whistleblower.

There is no logic behind Libby's bafflegab causing harm, it's just "something" we can get him for if we pretend it's a lie instead of incoherent babbling.

clarice

I got the pleading AFTER ts already sent it to me just in case anyone gets any ideas.

Indeed, he appeared to imply that her secret identity was important to national security, a statement at odds with the facts you cited Walter he did imply this, and most certainly did so to the gj and the press and the public. When pressed to provide evidence of this, however, he refused, said it was not relevant and that he'd never even fully investigated the issue.

Wells, indeed, is trying to get the judge to bar Fitz from making any such statement, noting that altho Fitz has sais that it is not relevant he surely will follow his pattern and raise it in the opening statement, the closing statement and the rebuttal statement, leaving that impression with the jury.

In the end if the defense succeeds in eradicating all the Fitz doodoo like "classified" and "national security" from the case, Fitz will be left with no case--minor differences in the recollections of conversations between a bunch of very busy people.

sad

There is no limit on unprovable charges.

cathyf
I noted that since the obstruction statute doesn't require a showing of materiality is is used by prosecutors to evade showing any connection to anything. It is a give away to them.
So if the prosecutor was trying to indict the canonical ham sandwich, could he indict the guy who ate the sandwich for obstruction? If the guy was Jewish and lied about eating the sandwich to keep his mother from finding out, does that get a perjury charge on top of the obstruction charge? Separate counts for the bread and the ham?

I think I'm having another "Kelo Moment" in a case that's had lot's of Kelo Moments...

cathy :-)

boris

Libby's (currently unprovable) real crimes are more important

Aside from the obvious injustice of punishing the defendant for an unprovable crime by using a "provable" bogus crime ...

... proving innocence on the "unprovable" crime ought to be a valid defense. Which makes evidence for that relevant.

noah

I'd settle for just knowing what the unprovable crimes are. Then I can make up my own mind...just like I am pretty certain that Al Capone was guilty of things other than tax evasion.

clarice

Not apparently in Fitzlandia, Boris..Because the man has a fixed delusion.
It would be interesting to know how much of the articles in presented to the gj were sourced by thugs like Wilson, the VIPS and Cannistraro. Maybe we'll find out the circle jerk they played on the "elliot Ness with a Harvard degree".

clarice

noah, I'm sure that however Libby gets off this case, you have hit on the left's talking points. *URGH*

Patton

Isn't it sad that we have one of the two major political parties in this country, and their progeny of left wing bloggers, spending all their time and energy trying to prove Bush guilty of something, and trying to prove Saddam Hussein innocent of anything.

noah

Ah, Walter, is gentlemanly and unlike some other lawyers that have visited the thread he seems to know what he is talking about.

Now don't be coy...answer the $64,000,000 question (inflation you know) please. Pretty please?

noah

I submit that there are no unprovable crimes committed by Libby.

Sue

I didn't get the impression from Walter that he agreed with Fitzgerald. I got the impression he was telling us what Fitzgerald himself said.

noah

OK...if I misunderstood I apologize.

cathyf

I think that the crime Fitzgerald wants is Cheney and Bush lying about declassifying the NIE. A trespass on presidential prerogative that even Congress and the Supreme Court wouldn't dream of.

Which just goes to prove that Fitzgerald is not just a 4th branch of government, but the 1st branch, above the other 3.

cathy :-)

Patton

"""I submit that there are no unprovable crimes committed by Libby.""""

Hold on there Bubba....we are including THOUGHT crimes are we not...like maybe he was thinking like a conservative? Maybe he thought it was wrong to follow the moral path of Ted Kennedy? Is that not a crime to the thought police??
Maybe he thought the killing of 3 million Iraqis by the Clinton machine had to stop?
Or maybe he thought tenet was a bad Clinton choice...Hmmm


I think Fitz will wait until Libby is convicted to tell us what he was really guilty of.....

clarice

Don't know about that. I am certain that when the case is dismissed or Libby is acquitted the sinistrosphere will carry on as before saying he got off on a technicality or that dark forces prevented Fitz from prosecuting Libby for his real crime or whatever.

boris

I submit that there are no unprovable crimes committed by Libby

I'll go further, the "crime of bafflegab" is a just a pretense that judge and jury are supposed to suspend rational judgment and convict ... based on knowing beyond reasonable doubt ... guilt of the unprovable crime. (ellipses in the hope that coherence can be extracted from that turkey)

Allowing evidence of innocence for the unprovable crime would be "irrelevant" and might interfere with the "suspension of rational judgment" required to achieve Justice with the capital J.

Syl

Rick

(I finally caught up...)

I think Fitz should charge the source of 1x2x6 for obstruction. 1x2x6 is what he believed and what he showed the GJ and what he was pursuing and what he couldn't find.

sad

Libby HAS to be guilty of something because he helped Bush commit a crime for which Bush could be hung. I know because I heard Ben Affleck say so. tee hee

Forgive my faulty memory but way back when everyone was talking about how great Fitz was, wasn't someone here saying differently, that he wasn't all that great? Libby is a lawyer of great repute. Is there the possibility of professional jealousy coming into play from Fitz, putting all of this on a much more personal level than the public is privy to?

cathyf

Or maybe the crime Fitzgerald wants is Cheney and Bush declassifying the NIE and thereby smearing Joe Wilson by debunking his lies.

cathy :-)

Walter

Noah,

You've brought up an interesting point, something that may tie back into the referral that so intrigues York (and Clarice and TM and CathyF:) and me).

First, the answer to your question. From Fitzgerald's press conference:

"As you sit here now, if you're asking me what his motives were, I can't tell you; we haven't charged it.

"So what you were saying is the harm in an obstruction investigation is it prevents us from making the fine judgments we want to make.

"I also want to take away from the notion that somehow we should take an obstruction charge less seriously than a leak charge.

"This is a very serious matter and compromising national security information is a very serious matter. But the need to get to the bottom of what happened and whether national security was compromised by inadvertence, by recklessness, by maliciousness is extremely important. We need to know the truth. And anyone who would go into a grand jury and lie, obstruct and impede the investigation has committed a serious crime."

From that, we see that Fitzgerald is interested in "compromised...national security". (Technically, that's not dowdification, right? It preserves his meaning, anyway.)

Look at the questions he asked Miller. The vast majority of them relate to the NIE and other classified documents. (Also note: did you ever have and if so, did you retain any special clearance...) We know from Fitzgerald's last filing that Libby told him that he had discussed the NIE with Miller.

We know that, in theory, Potus or the VP can declassify unilaterally. Many suspect that the niceties of written findings may have been "overlooked", to say the least. Libby and ?Armitage? and Cheney all say that the act was legal.

I suspect that Fitzgerald would like to test whether the disclosures were legal. I'd even go so far as to say that the (otherwise inexplicable) disclosure of that (heretofor highly secretive "unoffical" declassification processs) was a trial balloon set up to see whether the WH would stand behind it in public.

Fitzgerald (and again, along with most of the public and press) dislikes the idea of selective disclosures. Because of the possibility of unilateral, oral declassification, he cannot make the case that the NIE, etc. was illegal. So, he punishes the malefactor.

Don't get me wrong... I am not accusing Fitzgerald of acting in a way different than any other prosecuting attorney. I don't think that he is particularly biased against Bush. He believes a crime has been committed. He has charged a crime. That they are not the same is not his fault.

(As an aside, prosecutors in general do not like to bring perjury charges by themselves. It opens them up to the very discussion we see here: What about the underlying crime? That doesn't mean that they don't see perjury everyday and believe that it is illegal. It just means that it looks better to charge, and convict on the underlying crime.)

So, onto the referral.

What follows is complete and utter speculation on my part.

CIA to DoJ: Someone outed an agent. Please prosecute.

DoJ to CIA: We need a little more to convince a jury that she is covered.

CIA to DoJ: Well, how about looking into the leak of the NIE, etc. at the same time, then. Maybe it's a conspiracy...

Rank and utter speculation, I tell you....

Walter

CathyF:)

No fair!

I had to actually go look up the quote from Fitzgerald's press conference.

That'll show me the value of actual research. Next time, Noah, look it up yourself.

cherad

" trespass on presidential prerogative "

Like the perogative Fratboy emjoyed when commenting on the "ongoing investigation: of Tom DeLay?

Listen, if you have the bully pulpit, control the agenda and the news bites on a daily basis, and you lose the argument anyway, you deserved it.

Unitary executive! Presidential perogative! Weapons of mass destruction program-related activities! All gifts to the national vocabulary, and entirely worthy of the late John Mitchell.

sad

random

boris

That doesn't mean that they don't see perjury everyday and believe that it is illegal

Libby's testimony only looks like perjury if one assumes the underlying conspiracy. Without that it looks like self serving motor mouth bafflegab.

It opens them up to the very discussion we see here

This is more than just that. If Libby's testimony was a deliberate lie regardless of a possible crime, it would be different. An investigation into a possible crime needs truthful testimony even if no crime develops, but it's just wrong to base perjury on something that's only a lie if the "possible" crime is certain. And then claim the certainty of the crime is irrelevant.

clarice

My scenario:
CIA to DoJ: Investigate please
DOJ to CIA: You have to give us a basis
CIA: Some bafflegab to cover the fact that she was not covert in the time frame covered by the IIPA and to hide the fact there was no harm to national security
Comey to Fitz:You are the AG --Do as you will. We'll all stay out of it.
Fitz:whoo hoo I'll satisfy my prurient curiouslty, get back at Cheney and Libby who my sources (the Wa Po) and the VIPs and that nice Joe Wilson tell me are the baddies in this.
Night before the indictment Staffer to Fitz:There's nothing here to indicate her position wasn't widely known around town. In fact,press accounts say she was.
Fitz:I'll send some guys in black to her neighborhood and ask around
Fitz:presser (we already know what he said and all of it was grade a doo doo).

larwyn

Conyers is connected to Levin, Rocky and the VIPS - RIGHT?

CNN'S little number on him today
COULD MEAN that DOJ is moving in from weakest link in this whole structure???

AM I DREAMING????

THINK ABOUT IT!

noah

Walter, thanks and just send me the bill!


Unfortunately for Fitz, his postulated uprovable crime seems to have gone missing!

Gary Maxwell

John Conyers would be chairman of the House Judciary committee if, shudder, the Democrat party were to regain a majority in the House. Ranking minority member today.

TM

From Jerry:

Isn't the prosecution partly an effort to pressure Libby into providing information for a larger investigation that Fitz has yet to conclude (the details of which are not public)?

Well, that is certainly my view - this prosecution looks like the flip that failed.

Based on the material in his recent filing, Fitzgeral dmust have felt he was *this close* to getting Cheny on a conspiracy to punish a heroic whistleblower.

CHney did ask about Wilson, his wife, and nepotism; he OK'ed Libby talking to Cooper and Miller the same day that Libby foregot to mention that Plame set up the Niger trip; and he OK'ed the NIE leak.

So yeah, I presume Fitzgerald had other targets. I just think that the notion of an ongoing investigation is just a pretence he is using to keep the defense away (*Maybe* Rove is still under the gun; Cheney, no way).

As to the underlying crime - I had an idea a long time back that Fitzgerald was taking an expansive view of "obstruction".
In his usage, he is not thinkin gabout what mihgt have happened if Libby's story had simply matched Russert, Cooper, and Miller (my guess - no charges).

Fitzgerald is thinking that, since Libby did not tell the truth, we have no idea what he would have said if he *had* told the truth.

Maybe he would have admitted that he knew Plame was covert, that Cheney ordered him to out her, that Bush was regularly walking the halls screamng "Get Joe Wilson, and his little woman, too (who knew Bush was a fan of 'The Wizard of Oz'?)

With all that, Fitzgerald might have had what he needed for the IIPA (if Plame flying overseas is enough), or a conspiracy to leak classified info, or a conspiracy to obstruct his investigation.

Put slightly differently, by failing to confess to every element of a crime, Libby obstructed him.

Of course, we see that Libby testified that he had no idea Plame was classified (we had the earlier hint with Tatel's opinion). Well, maybe that is a lie, too - odd that Fitzgerald did not charge perjury there.

Hmm, the list of things Fitzgerald did not chzarge is quite impressive.

Sue

Tom,

And that which he did charge just plain weird. Especially with Cooper.

clarice

Isn't it though, TM.

Frankly, I think he is too fuzzy a thinker to have seen this thing thru logically. And for most of the cases he handles it doesn't matter much.

In this case, he should go back to the office. Lock the door. Take out some brown paper and a thick crayon and diagram this case.
When he does he'll see it's going nowhere.

Rick Ballard

Gary,

No fair exposing the GOTV themes this early. That's a 'hold until late August and then scream from the treetops'. Otherwise you'll screw up people's digestion for the next 208 days.

noah

For those of you that think that Rove is a good guy, as I do, I recommend checking out Rove's last two speeches (available at C-SPAN). He has me totally convinced that however flawed his policies may be Bush's heart is in the right place.

(But even if you hate Rove, the speeches will teach you something).

noah

Is there such a crime: "conspiracy to punish a heroic whistleblower"?

clarice

Obviosuly there is in Fitzlandia..he's already said there are good leaks and bad leaks, the latter being anything that pushes back against Ambassador Munchausen. And there are good leaker (UGO) whose reputations must be protected and non-leakers (like Libby) who must be punished with the threat of a 30 year sentence.

See how easy that is to say..and how easy it would be for Fitz to diagram ..

Gary Maxwell

you'll screw up people's digestion for the next 208 days.

the shudder I posted did indeed include a flutter in my stomach. Hard to believe that time in the House is the only requirement to be considered on chairman appointments isn't it?

Jake - but not the one

A day or two ago I spoke of "true believers", and it set me to thinking.

So here are some thoughts on belief and faith.

I have been reading Alan Watts “The Wisdom of Insecurity”, wherein one of the things he talks of is the difference between belief and faith.

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines the two words this way:

Belief - a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing

Faith - firm belief in something for which there is no proof

They are strangely (to me) similar in the dictionary, yet Watts and I both make this distinction: belief is the insistence that the truth is what one would “leif” or wish it to be, while faith is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be.

The distinction is this, that with respect to the questions that matter, belief defines what that answer must be, while faith requires only that there BE an answer and that the answer be true.

This difference between belief and faith is important because in these polarized times, it is belief that is in ascendance, while faith gets short shrift. We all view the world not as it is, however hard that may be, but through the lens of how we want it to be. We have lots of beliefs and little faith.

The proof is simple, and it is found in one very common thing – how much time we spend discussing, arguing, the bits and pieces of ongoing events, such as the Libby trial, putting a spotlight on our beliefs in post after post, knowing all the while that there will be an answer (probably) and that one side will be bitterly disappointed and one side will rejoice.

Why all the angst? If we are uncovering the truth for all to see, should that not be our article of faith? That whatever the outcome, the truth was discovered, faith - in the system, the process - realized?

Any time we argue for an end in which we have no part, we prove yet again that belief is not quite the foundation of stone we wish it were. Belief is little more than the shifting sands of our current desires.

Believe what you will. The truth will out.

Eventually. :)

I have some faith the Libby thing will be resolved. I hope that we will know the truth. I don't much believe one thing or another about Libby.

At least not about lying to the grand jury. After all, I wasn't there.

Jake

noah

When you hear Rove talk about the inspiring atmosphere at the WH and then contrast that with the imprssion one gets from reading that expose about Hillary surrounded in the WH by angry, unwashed, fat progressive women...the contrast is striking!

clarice

And Leahy would be head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Byrd the head of the Senate Appropriations committee if the Dems took the Senate. Nice thought, heh?

clarice

Oh, and if he isn't jailed first for leaking real national security secrets, ROckefeller would head the Senate Intel Committee.

Gary Maxwell

angry, unwashed, fat progressive women

Here is another GOTV theme that could have an effect on the digestive tract.

maryrose

Thank you clarice, cathyf, and Walter. Your informative posts have helped me to better understand the recent Libby filings and the significance of them. My own theory is you shouls always go with the simplest explanation of behavior. I am sure Libby and Rove felt they had nothing to hide and testified honestly. Rove went back because he forgot ane-mail and had to clarify it. Fitz didn't really believe Rove until Luskin set him straight. Like John H. I am absolutely STUNNED Fitz would use hearsay newspaper articles with a grand jury as evidence without getting that they were biased opinion articles and as such of no value. Fitz is trying to salvage desperately what he thinks he has left of this case by denying evidence and relevant paperwork. He will not succeed because in this instance he is not the smartest lawyer that would be Libby's boys.

JohnH

TM
Too many comments. You should take 5 minutes and create a new post just to say "Let's continue comments here starting at [whatever] time.

I am not on dial-up but some people have slow connections.

noah

JAKE...hear, hear. But trying to undermine the wonderfulness of worrying over the Plame affair, is a little bit like farting in church. It beats the hell out of worrying if the Republicans are going to lose control of the House or if the Iraqis are ever going to get their shit together!

cathyf
Fitzgerald (and again, along with most of the public and press) dislikes the idea of selective disclosures.
But that's just stupid. "Classification" is, at it's very essence, selective disclosure. The duly authorized people select what will be disclosed and not disclosed. The duly authorized people are the ones who are elected, or appointed and confirmed by elected people, or appointed and delegated by the duly selected "superior officers."

What we have here is not "most of the public," but indeed maybe most of the press. And this small group does not dislike the idea of selective disclosure. What this small group dislikes is abiding by the results of an election when they are the losing side.

Which is nothing less than the fundamental civic duty in a democracy. (And I'll make my own claim about "most of the public." They disdain sore losers.)

cathy :-)

clarice

And more interesting than Natalie Holloway.

Sue

Fitzgerald (and again, along with most of the public and press) dislikes the idea of selective disclosures.

You left out a caveat. They dislike selective leaks if they are coming from pro-Bush people. If you have something you perceive as dirt against the Bush administration, bring it on.

clarice

Odd you should say that Sue, IIRC all of the articles Fitz presented to the GJ were sourced anonymously from "senior administration official" to "sources close to the probe"

larwyn

Isikoff and DeFrank on Hardball.
NOW! LIBBY

WISH I COULD TYPE FASTER

i;Looks like ...****divergence by Libby from WH**

m: **Is he off the reservation now?**

m:"D.C. jury - basically just a bunch of DEMOCRATS"

DF: ..."HAVE TO DISCREDITE OUR COLLEGUE TIM RUSSERT",,

...."hovers over the WH like Banquo's Ghost"

More to come

clarice

if you don't stop using itals and bold and not closing them larwyn!!!

Of course, they'd say that. I anticipated they would. They are too stupid to know how to read.

topsecretk9

Fitzgerald (and again, along with most of the public and press) dislikes the idea of selective disclosures.

Ah, the press...our proxy. barf.

larwyn

HARDBALL CON'T

mATTHEWS: "what's this all mean for Pres/Vp?"

DF: ..."more trouble for Bush...
MORE SCANDAL ...MORE,,,MORE..
MORE (CRAP CRAP CRAP)

m: .."PRES involvement? ....significant???""

I: .... larger storyline....relates to intel Iraq....ALBATROSS....reminds people we wnt to war when we shouldn't have,

Not applying for job as court reported anytime soon.

cathyf
Fitzgerald (and again, along with most of the public and press) dislikes the idea of selective disclosures.

Ah, the press...our proxy. barf.

**Snort** What the press really hates is when the elected government gets to decide what is disclosed, rather than the editors of the NYT and WaPo.

cathy :-)

larwyn

Matthews just admited that
Libby cannot get a fair trial
in D.C. with:

.."just a bunch of Democrats"

{I closed tag, I closed tag)

Squiggler

I only got three quarters of the way thru the comments and I have to go out, so I'm going to post this in the hopes it hasn't been covered ad nauseum in the section of comments I haven't read yet.

As to AL and others who question why Libby was sure he didn't fall under Bush's firing threats ... it seems to me everyone is forgetting that when he (Libby) is told to talk to reporters about the NIE, he questioned this and wanted clarification that what he would be doing would be legal. He got assurance (probably in the form of the President's signature on the declassification document) that he would not be breaking any laws ... hence, being fired for revealing his part of the information was not something he worried about. Remembering that what he was authorized to reveal was parts of the newly declassified NIE which has absolutely zero to do with Plame or outing Plame. At no time, it seems to me, was Libby worried about that "leak" which he probably already had at least an inkling had come out of the State Dept. and not out of the White House.

Am I wrong in this understanding?

clarice

Not as far as I can tell, squiggler.

noah

Correctamundo...but I failed my Plameology boards...so don't get excited!

noah

AL is about 0 for 30 on this and other topics.

topsecretk9

Cathyf

Well, gee...the indignities of a republican president. Who does he think he is to get to see classified FIRST!

clarice

ts-Isn't is interesting that in indicting a man for not leaking while implying he did, the SP gave the gj articles attacking Libby which were themselves sourced to leakers? (Think I'll do a shorty on that one tinoight).

topsecretk9

Clarice

Um yeah...particularly when the new article in question, Novak's, seems to have hit the trash can at Fitz's office.

kim

He believes a crime has been committed. He has charged a crime. That they are not the same is not justice.
===============================

Neo

Frankly, this whole thing is much more intriguing than Watergate (take that Woodward and Bernstein). It would make a much better movie, but without a threat of Presidential impeachment it just won't do the box office.

Of course now you understand that this is about the investigation, not the presumed crime .. which is boring to tears.

Even with Watergate who spends any breath of the breaking-n-entering crime at the DNC ? But in this flick, Wilson will take the part of the court jester .. in the court of Fitz.

larwyn

Brit Hume just reported that

Fitz has not posted the correction on his website.

Fitz still have the original up.

The letter has not been posted and
no mention of correction to original.

interesting..

Beto Ochoa

Human Taxonomy starts with the Domain:Eukaryota and now ends with the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens plameus
Joe Wilson is doomed.

kim

They're dysfunctional. All the resoources of the federal government and he can't get his shit together. Appeal on grounds of carelessness. This is ongoing damages. Fool.
==============================

Cecil Turner

Again, Fitzgerald will not be prevented from arguing that something is so just because we believe, based on objective facts, that something is not so. That's why I think that Libby's team would much rather have a ruling from a judge that the question shouldn't even be brought up in the trial.

If so, I suspect they'd be asking for that at this point. Instead, they're asking for the disclosure. Considering Fitz has been touting this message for months now--with scant regard for actual facts--and hiding his evidence, I suspect they'd like to debunk some more of his allegations. There's no way to unring the bell . . . but if it's as loosely based as some of his other allegations, they can have a field day deriding it. "Fairy tale" is fairly strong language.

I suspect that Fitzgerald would like to test whether the disclosures were legal.

If so, he's a frickin' idiot. What's he gonna do, indict the President for ordering something not in keeping with his own order (hence changing the order without actually ordering a change)? But at least that theory would explain why he didn't want to make it public . . .

I think Fitz should charge the source of 1x2x6 for obstruction.

I'm thinkin' the 1x2x6 story is conflated from the NIE release. It's obvious several officials (including Rove and Libby), were touting the NIE. Considering the inability of practically every news outlet to keep the two straight . . .

Spiker555

"And Leahy would be head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Byrd the head of the Senate Appropriations committee if the Dems took the Senate. Nice thought, heh?"

Absolutely NOT!

If this Libby case gets dismissed or Libby gets acquitted, will Fitz continue in the "special prosecutor" role?

noah

Not being a board-certified Plameologist, you are losing me a bit Cecil.

"indict the President for ordering something not in keeping with his own order (hence changing the order without actually ordering a change)?" What does that mean?

I know that I once knew what 1x2x6 meant but I have unfortunately forgotten.

JM Hanes

jerry (with apologies to all for length -- every time I attempted to abridge, it just got longer)

"Isn't the prosecution partly an effort to pressure Libby into providing information for a larger investigation that Fitz has yet to conclude (the details of which are not public)?"

I suspect that's probably true. I also suspect that Fitzgerald's use of that tactic in the context of this particular case may ultimately result in rulings which make it much more difficult for prosecutors everywhere to work their way up the food chain of wrong doing. This is only one of many issues in play which transcend the issue of Libby's specific guilt or innocence, and which I believe have received far too little analysis.

Folks (not addressing you, specifically) who dismiss interest in the "legalisms" here as mere political parsing, completely miss the most disturbing aspects of this case where the pursuit of justice in the future is concerned. That's certainly one of the most compelling reasons for my own continuing interest in the extended, document based, discussion TM is hosting.

Just as Fitz's subpoenas of reporters in the course of what amounts to a fishing expedition has upended long standing precedent with regard to whistle-blowing in the press (which he ironically claims to be defending), the Special Prosecutor's use of his putatively ongoing investigation to stonewall discovery may very well force Judge Walton to rule, explicitly, that a defendant's right to a fair trial supersedes the long standing utility of plea bargaining in the pursuit of bigger fish.

I've been beating this drum from the day Fitz' website went up. It's high time someone challenged him to demonstrate that he is, in fact, still engaged in a good faith investigation, and yet the eventual, perhaps inevitable, ruling from Judge Walton on discovery will have ramifications -- when it comes to investigating organized crime, for example -- which simply cannot be overstated. The indictment of a criminal hireling could soon be working to the boss's advantage: Indict my lieutenant, and let's see what you've got!

The defense has previously observed that Fitz chose the timing of his indictment and that if he were worried about this trial blowing his investigation, he ought to have completed it before bringing charges against Libby. They more than hint that there is a compelling civil rights case to be made in favor of just such an assertion, and I think neither the public nor his DOJ colleagues will end up thanking Fitzgerald for losing that argument.

Also of significance in its own right, I believe that the standard practice of flipping defendants in ordinary criminal cases has an equalling compelling downside as a tactic in the hands of a special/independent prosecutor. Such appointments derive, by definition, from complex political considerations and as result also have complex political consequences which other prosecutions do not. That's precisely why both Congress and the DOJ have struggled to shape a distinct, sui generis, set of requirements for special prosecutors. To assert, as Fitz & Comey do, that those very strictures simply don't apply is to render them a meaningless redundancy.

Unfortunately the political consequences the guidelines were designed to mitigate are as clear here as they ever were in Starr's pursuit of Clinton, regardless of how one feels about either investigation. It is clear that we need a formal process for addressing criminal behavior in our elected and appointed officials. It seems equally clear, IMO, that the precedent now being set will prove more dangerous than fruitful, to whit:

An individual prosecutor, explicitly isolated from both advice and restraint, can singlehandedly hobble a President's effectiveness in the conduct of the nation's business, and even deprive him of key personnel through indictment, for years before the merits of any accusations he may lodge are ever tested. One can certainly accuse both left and right of hypocrisy where they have switched roles as to raising alarms on this score, but to dismiss all reservation on that basis is sheer, myopic, folly.

JM Hanes

Larwyn

I'll try harder to condense, if you'll swear off the formatting tags! :)

Cecil Turner

What does that mean?

Sorry, it was a reductio argument, meant to illustrate the absurdity of the notion.

In the US, the President is the sole authority for classifying and declassifying information, an authority which he delegates to select subordinates through an Executive Order. If the President decides something can be released, it can. I seriously doubt Fitz is challenging this point, because he can't possibly win on it.

JM Hanes

Oh Geez! Rocekefeller as head of Senate Intel? Pls., pls., pls. perish that thought. Wish I could remember where I read that he's recently accused Woodward of leaking classified info in Plan of Attack. Nothing like missing the misdirection mark by a couple of years!

Cecil Turner

Oh, and 1x2x6 refers to the contention that: (1) SAO told the WaPo that Novak's (2) sources had called at least (6) journalists to shop Plame's identity. It hasn't held up terribly well.

noah

Thanks Cecil for the clarification.

Semanticleo

Seems Libby's defense team has pissed off the judge. Gag order threatened. Byron York will
be apoplectic.

willem

OT -- Preppy Scumbag From Hell up at Salon:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2006/04/13/leaks/index_np.html

Oh, Sidney. Wise men squint when they say your name...

Sue

Someone upthread, and I apologize for not remembering who, made an interesting point that got me thinking. The referral letter from the CIA to DoJ, as far as we know, was to investigate the release of classified information. And as it has been pointed out, Libby was very interested in the conversation Libby had with Miller about the NIE. Could that be why we are not going to find out who UGO is from Fitzgerald? I think it was Jeff that made the point that Fitzgerald was not just investigating the leak to Novak. Has Fitzgerald been investigating the NIE disclosure and not Plame? I'm rambling, but it would make sense why UGO is not facing charges and why Fitzgerald has fought so hard to keep the referral letter out of Libby's hands. And on a last note, it could also explain why he waited until the night before the indictments to send FBI agents to see if Plame's employment was known in her neighborhood. He didn't care by that point but wanted to keep up the pretense.

LARWYN

JMH,
Please don't give up on me so quickly. I don't easily give up on myself.

Spring and blossoms bloomed here a few days ago - violent sneezing began = spasms setting off diminishing of eyesight/finger move etc.
Didn't realize how dangerous I had become.
I will now try to control excitment and end each tagged post with statement:

(I have closed all tags!)

Just typing the shifted ( Cap I
and ! takes a lot of concentration which should snap me out of "running lights".

Just think how proud you'll be when I'm trained.
LOL!

Trying to figure out:
. the CNN LENGTHY report on Conyers

. and Matthews admission that Libby will get Dem jury in DC.
As DeFrank also mentioned that the Libby team was
...."trying to discredit our colleages Tim Russert etc...

I see them trying to help it go away - but being able to say it was a technicality as we know they will. Wish I had a TIVO to be able to get complete statements down verbatim - but hard to listen and control fingers at same time.

(no tags in this post)

JM Hanes

Sooo, Instapundit says: "PLAME UPDATE -- LIBBY RESPONDS: Tom Maguire is all over the topic."

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like there's something kinda sexy about that formulation? Have we told you lately that You Rock, TM?

maryrose

Larwyn:
I saw Hardball as well and Isikoff and that DeFrank from the Daily New York News are no fans of the Bush Administration. Isikoff's last big story was flushing Korans down the toilet at Guantanamo. Of course everything in their world is said and meant to hurt Cheney Bush et al. There tactics thanks to the blogs and the internet won't work. Now you have instant correction and blogs calling people on their obvious bias and mistakes. Barone was on Brit Hume's sjhow and he really knows what he is talking about and I read his columns all the time. On election night he had all the CORRECT facts and figures. Also Jay Cost had an excellent column on Calif/50 and Busby's disappointing 43%. You can find the truth as Jake posits But you have to look really hard for it. The reason we care so much about this Libby case is we want real justice and don't want partisan politics to win the day or liars like Joe Wilson to be vindicated.

Sue

And as it has been pointed out, Libby was very interested in the conversation Libby had with Miller

Libby should be Fitzgerald.

MayBee

If I were to sum up what it seems you all are saying about the obstruction charge--Libby didn't flip, therefore he's obstructing.

JMH- your last paragraph in your second-to-last post is dead on.
The bar to allow investigations of sitting Presidents must be set very, very high lest we see investigations called for political purposes (as if!).

Clinton's Paula Jones problem came, ironically, from a Vanity Fair article that supposedly defamed her. It was all a set up, not so unlike the Wilson articles. The goal is to get an investigation- any investigation- and hope once the string is pulled the prosecutor has the desire to not to take care of the snag, but to unravel the sweater. (how's that for a HORRIBLE metaphor?)

kim

My, my, JM Hanes, how lucid. And your overflowing bowl of wisdom was neither too big, nor too little, but just the right size.

When I see slants or bolds, I know it is time to sniff upthread to see what has caught the eagle eyes of regal larwyn.
===========================

MayBee

larwyn- about Conyers.

The man's a buffoon with a seat from a safely Democratic district. If I were a Democrat who wanted
1)Dems to win the house in 2006 And then
2) To become president in 2008

I would do what I could to keep Conyers from chairing the judiciary committee for the two years I was Candidate Dem. In other words, his chairmanship would reflect poorly on the Dem Party.

kim

Sisyphus knits up the ravelled sleeve of care.
Rumpelstilts skins and taxes fair.
Rapunzel unravels repeatedly hair.
Fitz, examine your case, I dare.
======================

Rick Ballard

Sue,

To hammer again, not too gently, Fitz may well be hanging his hat on Plame's affiliation with the WMD group rather than her status as an employee. In short, Val Plame, CIA employee wasn't classified bu Val Plame, member of the WMD group was. That's where Mr. Innocenza UGO may be off the hook for lack of direct knowledge that her affiliation with the WMD group was classified while others may be on the hook because they knew that it was classfied - until it was declassified, if it was declassified.

That's where Libby's inclusion of his question to Addington comes in, too. Although the NIE was declassified at the instant the President said it was declassified, one might want some evidence of the timing of that declassification because disclosure prior might be a crime while disclosure after can't be a crime.

JM Hanes

Larwyn

Not to worry on my account!! I figured it would be pretty obvious that there's no way I could actually keep up my end of the bargain I was proposing!

Sue

Rick,

It is just to freaking weird how close Plame is to everything. Her husband. The group that sent him. The 16 words being okayed by her boss who was, btw, in a war with Cheney and Libby, per the VF article. Her boss head of a group of analysts, per the CIA website. The conspiracy, to me, seems to be from that department not the WH.

Patrick R. Sullivan

' Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like there's something kinda sexy about that formulation?'

Sorta like, 'Libby's back, and Maguire's got him.'?

Rick Ballard

Sue,

Absolutely. As is the smoke that David Corn blew concerning 'covert' - which she definitely wasn't and which NO ONE OUTSIDE THE LEFTWING NUTHOUSE EVER ASSERTED - I'd bet a hundred bucks it's not in the referral - because it can't be, based upon her making her 15 minute drive to Langley every morning. She never fit the bill.

But her affiliation with the WMD group was disclosed and a proper subject for the referral - which should have been disposed with in about two weeks - had the CIA wished it to be disposed.

Yeah, this centers around the WMD group which turned out the assessments that proved to be slightly suspect, after the invasion. I have a sneaking suspicion that group has a very low average golf handicap because they certainly weren't hurting themselves on the job.

larwyn

MayBee,
So we are seeing perhaps outcomes of Dems inside polling/focus groups that the impeachment line isn't going to win them votes.
Conyers assembled the FAKE COMMITTEE attended by many LEFTY LUMINARIES on impeaching GW.
Are they also realizing that taking the House back is not realistic.
But if once Conyers is exposed, they chorus in with, "he should be punished if what he did is true and we are asking him to....."
They can retool the
"culture of corruption"
to:
"Dems, cleaning out corruption wherever we find it!"

I surf in an out of Matthews and Woooof and the other idiots just to try to figure out where they are trying to lead us (well, definitely not US).

Wish there was a team at the WH keeping close eye on them. Might speed up responses.

Actually, most on this site could write the Dems script - GW/Pubs need to adopt a PRE-EMPTIVE
STRATEGY for the LSM.

(no tags)

boris

If the combination of slow dial up, and comment section length is a problem ... simply end every post with ...

</i></i></b></b>

Sue

I saw someone last night talking about how Valerie had lost her job, etc., and people she worked with no longer wanted to be associated with her. All being blamed on Bush/Cheney/Libby/Rove, et al. The distancing themselves from her came after her photo shoot with VF, if press reports are to be believed. In fact, I think Joe Baby made the comment somewhere that she wished she hadn't of done it. Why would an analyst lose her job? She could still analyze data. That part, her being on a forced leave, came from the photo shoot, I'll bet.

Semanticleo

There once was a lawyer named Scooter,

Who spied a spook's spouse as a looter

He got caught in a trap

Agreed he would yap

And fingered his boss as the shooter.

danking70

From York:

"If that is the case, then the trial, which Fitzgerald has said will be a limited criminal inquiry into whether Lewis Libby lied, will more resemble a broad inquiry into the politics of pre-war intelligence."

This is a fair a playing field as Bush will ever get. And Wilson on the stand as a hostile witness.

topsecretk9

-- Why would an analyst lose her job? --

She not only didn't lose her job, she went back to work and stayed until she could retire --with her pension.--

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Wilson/Plame